Running a marathon

The Sunday after I graduated from high school, I ran a marathon.

Now my running background is rather slim. I never participated on a track team during high school, I just ran. Often I ran for fitness but there was something else that kept me getting me out on that road with my running shoes on my feet. I loved the sense of accomplishment after a challenging run..and the freedom to eat a lot more. 🙂

I don’t know exactly why I decided to run a marathon, I just remember that I was running up the long pot hole filled drive way at camp last summer and I was running particularly faster than usual. Suddenly I made up my mind that I was going to run a marathon. I had no idea how much training it would take or how long 26.2 miles can take to run. I just knew that I wanted to run one. So right then and there as I passed the Cabin David, I decided that a marathon was my goal.

Over the next year I began training, researching and more training. I decided that I was going to run the Minneapolis marathon and to help train for that race I was also going to run the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud.

The year was filled with highs and lows. I learned to love my pace runs. (runs that include intervals where you run fast for a certain distance then recover for a bit just to run fast all over again) and to manage my time. I was working almost full time by May and often I had to run in the morning before work.

All that training paid off. On June 5th 2011, I woke up at 5 am and my friend and I drove to the start line. She dropped me off and I nervously waited with a couple thousand other runners for the signal to start. At 7 am it went off and we started moving. I was running my first marathon!!!!!!

The first half was relatively easy. I have read somewhere that you run the first half of a race with your body and the second half with your mind. I had to do just that.

Here I am about mile 11, and I’m smiling. (I apologize for the blurry photos)

Oh and if you can’t tell..I am the runner in teal 🙂

After mile 11 things started to get tough. The course took us a long trails and we had this huge hill at mile 17. In chalk on the trail it told us that we were climbing Mcnasty…the bad thing was that I saw that hill around mile 14 and I knew I was going to have climb it at mile 17…not a good thing to look forward to when you are over half way into a marathon.

Here I am around mile 20. As you can see I am not smiling. Actually I only started running then cause I saw my family cheering for me and i wanted to push it for them. The bad thing was that I went off course a bit after passing them and that made my mom a little worried. (apparently watching a marathon can be very nerve racking) She told me after ward that she thought that I wasn’t in my right mind. Well maybe I wasn’t. All I know was that I was awfully tired and it was all I could do to make it from water stop to water stop. (they were my salvation by the way)

Right after I passed my family God came to me in human running form. Her name was Kate and it all started when she asked me if I had a pacer on my watch…(wow I wish I could have all that on my $10 watch from Walmart). We started running together and talking. Well as much as we could with what little breath we had. But during that time I found out that she was a believer!!! Thank You God!!

She had to walk at times and she told me to keep going and that I shouldn’t let her hold me back. There was no way I was going to leave her. Normally I am used to running by myself and relying on my own strength to get me through but I knew that she was sent for a reason and by golly I was not going to lose her!!!!!!

The last 6 miles were the hardest. I am so thankful Kate was there she helped so much, from telling me to pour water on myself to rubbing my calf when it cramped up. By God’s grace we made it to the finish line.

When I saw that blessed finish line I gathered all my strength and the confidence that all those pace runs have given me and ran as fast as I could toward that finish line.

Kate is the runner right behind me.

I finished with a respectable time of 4:37. God was so good to me that day!!! I felt so awful after the marathon..I was disappointed with my time and I just wanted to lay down and cry…but as the day went on I began to realize what a great accomplishment it was!

I ran a marathon!!! And…for your information I am so crazy that this week I signed up for another one in October!!




One thought on “Running a marathon

  1. rbretz says:

    What a thrill to watch Jess, our oldest grandchild, as she ran the marathon. We found a spot at the 10 mile mark which was also the 20 mile mark, then we raced back to the finish line to cheer her across. It was quite an emotional day. We love you Jess.

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